When websites do more than what they do – I like them

by Mr. Sheehy

How do you make me love a web tool? Make it do more than just what it does.

Example 1: Make it so I can share it, especially by embedding it in my own website. That’s just what I needed from Bubbl.us, and that’s just what I got. I wanted to summarize the discussion my class had about Of Mice and Men, enabling another class to benefit and enabling students to see how much insight they expressed. I could have written it as an article on the blog, but I get the feeling they don’t want to read one more long article from me (I give them plenty), and quite honestly, I wouldn’t mind doing something that is a bit quicker. This graphic organizer works well enough. Other websites that enable me to do this (and ones I love for it): Flickr, Google Maps, any video sharing site, Slideshare, and the list goes on and on and on.

Example 2: Make it with feeds. I love feeds, and the more I see them, the more I like them. I have found del.icio.us to be particularly powerful when I use feeds. Combined with Feedburner, I am able to run a list of great student-articles through the front page of my classroom website, and with a Wikispaces widget, I can feed students’ articles on Of Mice and Men through the unit page, enabling students to access each other’s thinking faster (which means they’re more likely to do it).

It must be intense to be a part of the development of these sites and tools. You come up with a great idea ( “We let them edit graphics entirely online!”) and it’s not good enough until you make it do something entirely different — something more ( “Okay, so how can we store the information online and let them embed it in another website?”). For now, I like being on this end of the bargain.

Thanks for reading.